How to declutter a small entryway — 10 ideas from the experts

Commit to decluttering your small entryway with tips from the pros

Entryway with wooden bench and wooden shelves
(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

Learning how to declutter a small entryway and executing it like a pro will result in a sense of peace and calm every time you walk through the door. 

Your entryway sets the tone for your space, and keeping it clutter-free allows you to streamline its functionality and feel welcoming to boot. Our experts share tips on getting the task done, with organizational tools like key hangers, clever storage and secondary drop zones.

Delve into the 10 ways our pros recommend to achieve a stylish, decluttered, and organized small entryway.

How to declutter a small entryway

From understanding how you want to use your small entryway space to figuring out which organizational tools will get you there, our expert-led tips on decluttering and organizing your home's small entryway will make this task a breeze.

1. Start fresh

organized entryway closet with five white shelves packed with clear storage containers to organize the space

(Image credit: Organized by JM / https://www.instagram.com/organizedbyjm/)

First things first — when it comes to decluttering your small entryway, you need to start fresh. This means removing every item, shelving unit, plant, rug, shoe rack, or decoration from your entryway space in order to properly take stock.

Many people tend to tackle decluttering by going object by object but instead of focusing on each of the elements in your entryway, get a clear idea of what your space looks like without stuff.

For professional organizer Lauren Saltman of Living. Simplified., this is the first step.

She says, "Pull out all the items, categorize them, and remove as much as possible from the space. We need to be thoughtful as to what we keep there. During the winter, your summer sandals and water shoes should be stored elsewhere, along with beach towels, sand toys, and gardening supplies."

Professional Organizer Lauren Saltman
Lauren Saltman

Lauren Saltman is a professional organizer who believes that a clutter-free and organized home can help to foster peace of mind in other parts of our lives.

2. Decide on rugs

West Elm entryway with storage cabinet and rug

(Image credit: West Elm)

A small entryway rug at the entrance of your doorway can serve as both a functional and aesthetic choice for your entryway space. An runner, such as this neutral flat-woven rug from Ruggable, can serve as a space for you to remove your shoes, or as the first decor piece anyone sees when they step into your home. Its low pile also makes it a good choice for high-traffic areas.

However, the wrong rug — such as one that’s too big in size, or one that constantly needs cleaning — can have the opposite effect, and make your space feel more cluttered. When deciding whether or not to utilize an entryway rug, consider how you will use it on a daily basis and whether it’s serving your needs or getting in the way. 

Lauren adds, "Be thoughtful about any type of rug you place on the floor. It should be easily washable for all the wet weather messes."

3. Find a shoe solution

organized shoes in an entryway closet

(Image credit: Organized by JM / @organizedbyjm)

When it comes to crowded entryways, shoes can be the biggest culprits. If up routinely remove your shoes right at the door, consider the best solution for storing shoes away neatly. It will go a long way to help declutter a small entryway.

A great shoe rack, like this three-tiered, easy to assemble metal rack from Amazon, can make all the difference. 

4. Store jackets elsewhere

Crate and Barrel storage wall unit in light wood

(Image credit: Crate and Barrel)

It can be tempting to dump your jacket as soon as you step through the door, whether that’s on a coat rack or a bench. However, an overabundance of outerwear can be the reason your small entryway feels cluttered. 

Instead of storing jackets and sweaters in your entryway, consider finding space in your closet, packing away in an ottoman bed, or a dedicated clothes rack like this portable garment rack available on Amazon. This will free up more space in your small entryway.

Professional organizer Juliana Meidl adds, "When you have limited space in an entryway, only keep items you use on a regular basis. When the seasons change, swap out accessories you no longer need. You can also look to create a secondary drop zone in your home, for instance, a place in the kitchen to keep your keys."

A wall organizer, such as a metal one with hooks from Target is a handy item to store mail, keys, glasses, and bags elsewhere without cluttering up your entryway.

Juliana Meidl
Juliana Meidl

Juliana Meidl has a love for organization, a passion for helping others, and an entrepreneurial drive. Since starting Serenity At Home, she has worked with hundreds of clients to help them achieve their organizational goals.

5. Lighting is key

Anthropologie blue console table in entryway

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

If your entryway lacks proper lighting and is difficult to navigate because of it, this is the perfect storm for first making a mess, and then letting it accumulate. "Good lighting is key in a small entryway because you don't want to be searching for your keys and other valuable items in the dark. It also makes for a much more welcoming atmosphere when you walk in the door after a long day," says interior designer, Artem Kropovinsky.

Install a wall light or lamp, such as this slimline black arched floor lamp from Wayfair mini lamp from Target, to brighten your space and help you spot things you need to put away. If you don't have any sockets nearby, a handy rechargeable strip light such as this motion sensor closet light from Amazon will work brilliantly. 

Artem Kropovinsky
Artem Kropovinsky

Artem Kropovinsky is an interior design expert and founder of Arsight, an award-winning interior design studio based in New York.

6. Toss what you don't need

entryway closet organized

(Image credit: Organized by JM / https://www.instagram.com/organizedbyjm/)

Many times, the entryways of our homes can serve as a temporary storage space for all kinds of items — gardening supplies, rain boots, car cleaning supplies, and all types of random household goods. 

"It may be difficult, but tossing items you don't actually use is the best way to clean up the look of your small entryway. All that extra stuff just gets in the way and will make your daily routine more stressful," says Vivianne Chow, interior designer and founder of Viv and Tim Home.

Instead of letting these items pile up near your doorway, consider sorting through them and tossing what you don’t need. Whether you choose to donate these items or list them for free on your neighborhood social media page, getting them out of your house means freeing up space for items you want to look at everyday. 

Vivianne Chow and her husband Tim on the couch
Vivianne Chow

Vivianne Chow is an interior stylist and founder of the home decor blog, VivandTimHome.com. She's passionate about sharing the best modern home decor to buy and recently built a dream custom home with her husband Tim. 

7. Spark zen

Wayfair entryway storage

(Image credit: Wayfair)

The renowned organizer Marie Kondo, tidying up legend, is famous for asking the question “Does this item spark joy?” When decluttering and organizing your entryway, consider also asking another question, “Does this item spark zen?”

Entryways are our first impression on a daily basis of our own homes. Understanding which items in your entryway contribute to your zen can be a good way to embrace your overall space in a way that will make you feel relaxed and happier each time you walk through the door. 

8. Swap gallery walls for mirrors

Gold round Anthropologie wall mirror hanging above entryway light wooden console with gold potted green plants and orb ornament table

(Image credit: Anthropologie)

Mirrors are fantastic in small entryways for many reasons. They make your space appear larger than it really is and small entryway mirrors provide a way for a last-minute outfit or make-up check before leaving home. 

"Mirrors can add a lot of dimension to any small space as they reflect light and really open things up. Attach a mirror to the wall to help elongate the room," says Kropovinsky.

Gallery walls on the other hand can sometimes feel cluttered, especially in a small space. Swap your medley of frames, pictures, and posters for one hanging wall mirror. We love this round Threshold mirror available in two colors from Target for making a statement in a small space. 

9. Embrace feng shui

Wayfair black wood entryway console table

(Image credit: Wayfair)

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese practice that can help you arrange your home in a more harmonious way, including guidance on the best places to put furniture (including entryway tables), mirrors, and other items. 

Balance, symmetry, and using natural materials are all ways to incorporate more small entryway Feng Shui into your small entryway. 

"Feng Shui can be really helpful in a small entryway as this room is really functional. You want the energy to be balanced as you're constantly coming and going," says Kropovinsky.

10. Cull excess storage items

entryway organized linen closet with plastic dividers

(Image credit: Organized By JM / @organizedbyjm)

Oftentimes, we may feel getting organized means going on a shopping spree for new storage solutions — clear bins, hooks, boxes, and shelves. Rather than choosing to fill your shopping cart with a haul of random storage options, take a long look at what storage tools you actually need. When it comes to shelving, hooks, or anything else, sometimes less is more. 

"Don't get overwhelmed by all the organization products on the market these days. Most people don't need more than a couple of storage boxes or dividers. You don't have to spend a lot to make a big impact," says Chow.

In an entryway closet, for example, using plastic dividers (like these transparent shelf dividers available on Amazon) instead of bulky bins is a great way to minimize overusing storage products which can (ironically) make your space feel more cluttered. 

You can also repurpose any nice boxes you've been gifted items in, or have a clear-out elsewhere, and use up newly-emptied storage boxes you already have in your home.

What to shop


There are plenty of ways to create a decluttered entryway that makes you and your guests feel welcome in your home. From keeping out the things minimalists never have in a small entryway to investing in the best organization products, simple tidying can make a big difference. 

Whether you need a complete reorganization or just to rid yourself of the items that have piled up, creating the space that works for you is essential to your desired home's design overall. 

Kate Santos
Contributor

Hello! I’m Kate Santos, a writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. In the design world, I got my start working as an Editorial Intern for Dwell magazine in San Francisco. Since then, I’ve written about design and architecture in many national magazines and online publications, including Playboy, Hunker, and The Culture Trip.


I grew up in a very old house in North Carolina and am still influenced by the rustic, charming, antique and aged elements of a home. Sustainability and longevity is extremely important to me and I believe learning to reuse materials or purchasing items you’ll love forever goes a long way. I also lean towards the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi when designing my own home, embracing the perfectly imperfect items I can find. 

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